GJP have recently gained planning permission (through delegated approval) for a synthetic turf pitch with associated lighting, fencing and pavilion in the grounds of Queen Mary’s School in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire. The purpose of the planning application was to establish a new all-weather field hockey complex for Queen Mary’s School, with day and night capacity.

Primary matters considered throughout the assessment process included: provision of sporting facilities for the community; the potential impacts on heritage assets; landscape impacts; ecology; and highways. Of particular note is how the proposal considered potential impacts to heritage assets Baldersby Park House (Grade I Listed), which was built in the early 1700s, and the tennis court within the school grounds (Grade II Listed).

Harrogate Borough Council as the assessing Local Planning Authority determined that the pavilion design appropriately responded to these features and was acceptable in its location.  They were also accepting that the combination of flood lighting stanchions and fencing being painted green, and the addition of hedging along the front pitch, ensured that there would be no adverse impacts to the designated heritage assets or landscape more generally. The Council concluded that “the provision of an all-weather hockey pitch will enhance existing facilities at the school as well as provide for a proven need by other local hockey clubs”.